Located in the Bloomsbury Conservation Area this contemporary brick house in-fills a vacant corner plot, formerly home to a used car garage, to complete an historic mews. The site occupies an interesting position at the junction of a variety of buildings from different periods and buildings of diverse scale.
The new house was developed around a reinterpretation of the London lightwell. The lightwell descends right down into the basement, where there is a 14m pool lined with marble. A series of volumes step up from the basement to the top of the house, wrapping around the lightwell and opening the whole house to daylight.
With its third storey almost invisible from the street and another level entirely hidden in the basement, the discretion of the house’s exterior - designed to align with the scale of the existing mews - belies the luxurious 600sqm of living space within.
The external form and materiality was designed in close dialogue with Conservations Officers. The exterior is clad in fine quality brick and lightly-finished bronze, materials chosen to suitably mediate between the ajoining streets, successfully completing the urban block.
As in a palazzo, the ground floor deals with entry, vehicles, business and guests. Unusually, on the first floor, the kitchen and living spaces neighbour the master bedroom, responding to a desire by the clients not to have to carry cups of tea up flights of stairs to their bedroom. In spite of site restrictions, the whole house is filled with natural light and sky and a generous sense of space, while maintaining a modest street facade.